Two men arrested for slingshot shootings at Johnson City area businesses, homes

A large amount of marijuana and some marijuana-laced chocolate was also found.

Shell and Dechristina

WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Washington County Sheriff’s Office officials confirmed they have arrested two men after they received reports of slingshot shootings at businesses and homes in Johnson City.

WCSO Lt. Edwin Graybeal said the sheriff’s office received a call around 4:45 p.m. from the Indian Ridge Road area of Johnson City and in the county, saying people were possibly shooting a gun or a slingshot with ball bearings at cars, businesses and homes.

Johnson City Police Department Sgt. Mike Adams said the police department received their first report related to the incident just before 3:45 p.m., after a vehicle was hit by a shot in the Earth Fare parking lot.

Adams told us while reports are still coming in at this time, at least 11 to 14 calls have come in about windows being shot out, mostly in vehicles as well as businesses. Chick-Fil-A on People Street, Vision Works on Browns Mill Road and Bear N’ Friends are three of those businesses with shattered windows.

Bear N’ Friends owner, Debbie Gray said without the second pane of glass on her storefront, the steel ball could have her or one of her customers.

“Had the second pane of glass not been there it could ahve been really really bad because that was aimed straight for our heads,” Gray said.

Both Johnson City Police Department officers and sheriff’s office deputies were put on the lookout for the vehicle, which was later located by a WCSO K-9 unit on Indian Ridge Road near the entrance of the South Fork Ranch neighborhood.

Graybeal said the two men — Joseph Dechristina, 22, of Knoxville, and Dakotah Shell, 26, of Afton, admitted to shooting a slingshot.

The slingshot and medium-sized ball bearings were found inside the vehicle. A large amount of marijuana and some marijuana-laced chocolate was also found.

Both men were taken into custody and charged with reckless endangerment and possession of a schedule VI drugs for resale. More charges are pending.

Photo of Bear N Friends’ store window that was hit Wednesday. (WJHL)


According to a JCPD news release, Dechristina and Shell both face 11 counts of felony reckless endangerment, 15 counts of misdemeanor vandalism and one count of aggravated assault. Additional charges are pending.

An investigation revealed that windows of vehicles and businesses were shot out or broken by metal ball bearings.

A faculty member was hit over at East Tennessee State University at the corner of State of Franklin and Gilbreath, but was not injured, according to ETSU spokesman Joe Smith.

JCPD officials said the person hit with the ball bearing was able to provide a description of the suspect’s vehicle to dispatch.

Adams said businesses that filed reports related to the incident include VisionWorks off of Browns Mill Road; Dr. Brit Bowers office, 801 Sunset Drive, Suite 3; Hillcrest Drug Store, 714 W. Market St.; Bear N Friends, 2519 N. Roan St; Chick-fil-A on Peoples Street; and the Tennessee Highway Patrol located on John Exum Parkway.

No injuries have been reported at this time.

Graybeal said the incident is still under investigation and said a motive is unclear at this time.

JCPD, ETSU Department of Public Safety, as well as Jonesborough Department of Public Safety are conducting their own investigations.

Dechristina and Shell were taken to the Washington County Detention Center, where they were being held on $163,000 bond each. They were scheduled to be arraigned in Sessions Court Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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